Anti-Muslim round-up: 6/22/18

The following is a list of activities and events of anti-Muslim organizations. Organizations listed as anti-Muslim hate groups are designated with an asterisk (*).

National Group Activity

Western Conservative Summit (WCS) features Frank Gaffney: A mix of establishment, conservative and far-right figures headlined this year’s WCS in Denver, Colorado on June 8 and 9. As Hatewatch pointed out earlier last month, “The WCS has been a forum for anti-LGBT, anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant oratory in the past, and this year looks to be no different.” High-profile anti-Muslim figure Frank Gaffney, who runs the Center for Security Policy* spoke at the event, indulging in conspiracy theories about “refujihad” and Muslims’ “demographic jihad” to “outbreed[] non-Muslims.” During Gaffney’s presentation he also implied that a coterie of political bodies, social media companies and civil rights organizations — including the Southern Poverty Law Center, Anti-Defamation League, Facebook, Google, YouTube, Twitter and the European Union — were “the leading edge of civilization jihad in America and worldwide.”

ACT for America* attempts to expand to college campuses: ACT recently launched a new project called “Campus Hate Watch” to “expose and challenge college or university employees who discriminate against student’s (sic) First Amendment rights and spread hateful propaganda inside the classroom.” ACT claims it will be monitoring faculty who are supposedly spewing “anti-Americanism” rhetoric and “anti-Semitism.” The group makes no specific mention of challenging anti-Muslim hate, which it has a long history of fomenting. This is not the first time ACT has tried to expand its work to college campuses. In 2014, ACT attempted to launch student chapters on college campuses as a “counterweight” to the Muslim Student Association.

Reaction to White House’s Iftar dinner: Some American Muslim groups, leaders and community members said if invited, they would not attend the White House’s Iftar dinner that took place on June 6. This was in response to President Trump’s draconian policies like the Muslim ban. Meanwhile, anti-Muslim figures criticized Trump for saying favorable things about Islam during the event, such as “Iftars mark the coming together of families and friends to celebrate a timeless message of peace, clarity and love.” Hugh Fitzgerald, a contributor to Jihad Watch*, claimed in a June 8 blog that Trump’s Iftar speech shows he either needs “a re-education on the subject of Islam” or that he was lying and practicing his own version of taqiyya, an obscure and misunderstood Islamic concept that is popular among the far-right who claim it gives Muslims free reign to lie about their nefarious intentions. “Some will still find his remarks on Islam unforgivable,” Fitzgerald wrote. “I’m inclined to think that Trump thought it was okay to practice his own form of taqiyya, offering a modicum of praise of the faith where none was due.” Three days later, during a June 11 episode of his “Understanding the Threat” radio show, former FBI agent turned anti-Muslim conspiracist John Guandolo called for Trump’s Iftar dinner speech writer to be fired, saying “this is a step backwards.” “I don’t know what in the world the president is talking about. Islam does not celebrate love the way we understand love … Islam does not actually teach love.” Guandolo heads the anti-Muslim hate group Understanding the Threat*.

John Bolton’s earnings: On June 11, the White House released financial disclosures of over two dozen staffers, including National Security Adviser John Bolton. According to The Washington Post, Bolton earned $2.2 million in 2017, and $155,000 of it came from the Gatestone Institute, an organization known for spreading anti-Muslim conspiracy theories. Bolton served as chairman of Gatestone before joining the Trump administration.

Local and regional activity

Anti-Muslim figure Chris Gaubatz speaks in Ohio: On June 4, the ACT for America Ohio chapter hosted anti-Muslim figure Chris Gaubatz in his new role as president of the group Rise Align Ignite Reclaim, or RAIR Foundation USA. As Hatewatch recently highlighted, Gaubatz is connected to prolific anti-Muslim Twitter troll Amy Mekelburg through RAIR, which she founded in an attempt to move from social media to real-life activism. Gaubatz’s speech was billed as a “national security briefing” on the so-called “severity and dangers of the jihadi network in the U.S.” Gaubatz regularly peddles anti-Muslim conspiracy theories during his speaking engagements.

ACT hosts Anni Cyrus in Laguna Woods, California: On June 14, anti-Muslim provocateur Anni Cyrus spoke in Laguna Woods, California, where she was hosted by the local ACT for America chapter.

Cyrus moves on to Michigan: The next day, June 15, Cyrus kicked off a two-day tour in Michigan with prominent anti-Muslim figures Farrah Prudence, Phil Haney and the head of the Center for Security Policy, Frank Gaffney. The first speaking engagement, on June 15, was hosted by the American Decency Association, a religious far-right organization based in Fremont, Michigan. The day after, June 16, the anti-Muslim quartet traveled to Bloomfield Hills where The United West* hosted a webinar titled “Will We Allow Michigan to Transform America?” According to The United West’s description, the panel, which included local Christian pastor Don McKay, who discussed the apparent dangers of Michigan becoming a multicultural sanctuary state and being infiltrated by sharia if gubernatorial candidate Abdul Sayed, who identifies as a religiously observant Muslim, is elected to office.

Laura Loomer also visited Michigan: On Tuesday June 19, the Southeast Michigan Tea Party,* a regional Michigan political group that regularly traffics in anti-Muslim hate, hosted far-right media personality Laura Loomer who is known for spreading unfounded conspiracy theories surrounding the Las Vegas mass shooting, including that the known perpetrator, Stephen Paddock, was inspired by the terrorist group ISIS. Loomer also has connections to anti-Muslim figures like Pamela Geller and is listed as a “reporter” for Geller’s group American Freedom Defense Initiative*.

Pastor Shahram Hadian takes his speaking tour to Wisconsin: On Wednesday June 20, Pastor Shahram Hadian, who runs the Truth in Love Project*. took his speaking tour to Marshfield, Wisconsin to discuss “The Trojan Horse of Interfaith Dialogue Between Christians & Muslims.” Hadian, a former Muslim who converted Christianity, now seeks to claim Islam is a threat United States.

Legislation and policy

Irmo mayor faces criticism for anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant posts: Since the publication of a June 5 Daily Beast article, Irmo, South Carolina, Mayor Hardy King has been under pressure from critics for posting anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant memes on social media. The embattled mayor, who has not apologized for the posts, has faced calls from at least one elected official, South Carolina state Rep. Sam Edwards, to step down from office.

Marty Jackley loses Republican primary for governor of South Dakota: On June 6, U.S. Representative Kristi Noem won the Republican party primary over State Attorney General Marty Jackley to become South Dakota’s next governor. As Hatewatch has previously reported, Jackley attracted controversy last year for attending and downplaying his presence at an anti-Islam event sponsored by the Family Heritage Alliance, a state organization that has regularly held events featuring anti-Muslim and anti-LGBT speakers. Noem isn’t free from controversy either; in 2017 she expressed support for Trump’s Muslim ban and suspending the refugee program.

SCOTUS watch: National civil rights and anti-hate organizations, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations, have been closely watching the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) to see what it’s decision will be concerning the latest iteration of President Trump’s Muslim ban. Veteran SCOTUS watchers had anticipated a decision on Monday June 11, but no decision was announced that day.

Upcoming events

On June 21 The United West and Dick Manasseri’s Sharia Crime Stoppers will co-host a webinar featuring Deborah Weiss, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Security Policy, discussing “Islamist Censorship -- Its Roots, Purpose & and Role in the 2018 Michigan Governor’s Race.” Manasseri’s Sharia Crime Stoppers presentations are full of anti-Muslim tropes and conspiracy theories like Islam sanctioning violence and U.S. Muslim political candidates being Muslim Brotherhood operatives.

On June 24, Hadian will be holding a webinar with the Ohio state chapter of ACT for America on his mainstay presentation “The Trojan Horse of Interfaith Dialogue.”

Hadian will be traveling again on the June 26 and 28, speaking on the same topic in Caldwell and Boise, Idaho.

On June 28, the American Freedom Alliance* will be hosting its annual “Heroes of Conscience Awards” dinner. This year’s event will feature, among others, far-right conspiracy theory filmmaker Trevor Loudoun from New Zealand. Loudoun has spoken at several anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim events and is known for claiming that communist infiltrators are collaborating with Muslim extremists to overthrow the United States.

On June 29, Hadian will conclude his speaking engagements for the month in Nampa, Idaho, with his other signature presentation, “Hated for the Cause of Christ.”

Next month on July 14, an assorted group of far-rightists will be gathering outside the hamlet of Islamberg in the town of Tompkins, New York, for the third annual “National Ride for Security.” The purpose of the event is to protest what they claim is a terrorist training camp run by Muslim extremists. A 2017 Associated Press report on Islamberg, citing local residents and experts at the Anti-Defamation League, rejects that claim. The protest was announced over Facebook by Lisa DeJong, a New York-based supporter of the American Patriot Three Percenters (AP3), a Three Percenter militia group whose chapters around the country have been labeled as antigovernment extremist groups. Individuals tagged in the post include a variety of high-profile regional and national far-right figures, including AP3 founder and national head Scot Seddon, Ace Baker, Nathan Mizrahi (Lsm militia), Tusitala (John) “Tiny” Toese, Joey Gibson, Billy Sessions, and Kyle “Based Stickman” Chapman.

In their own words

“In pursuit of this globalist agenda, they’re running roughshod over the will of the people, inundating our countries with these migrants who have this supremacist, violent, and authoritarian worldview, who are victimizing our young people.” — Anti-Muslim activist and blogger Robert Spencer in the May 30 episode of Michelle Malkin Investigates on “The Muslim Refugee Rape Epidemic: Coming to America?”

“We need to always remember that you cannot kill an ideology. ISIS may be in retreat but radical Islam is alive and well in communities all over the world.” — Brigitte Gabriel founder of ACT for America in a June 16 tweet.

“There has been a very large, uncontrolled immigration to western countries. I think it’s just the beginning. That there are hundreds of million of people from poor, less well-governed countries who wish to come to the west. It is, I think, one of the great problems of the future ... much of the focus is on the immigrants and what they’re doing. And the left and its appeasement of the immigrants. And particularly Muslim immigrants, and most especially Islamist immigrants.” — Longtime anti-Muslim Daniel Pipes on Frank Gaffney’s “Secure Freedom Radio” on June 6 discussing the threat he thinks immigrants pose to western nations. Later in the segment, Pipes again defended far-right, anti-immigrant parties in Europe like the Freedom Party of Austria, which he calls “civilizationist” parties. “These are the resistance parties, they want to keep things as they are. They don’t want to have wholesale changes take place.

“The radical Left's plan to rip God out of our schools was just the beginning. Now that they've been successful at removing God, they've moved onto the next phase of their scheme — to replace God with Pro-Islamic lessons about Allah. We cannot allow the radical Left to brainwash our children with pro-Islamic, anti-Christian messages. Their goal is to tear down God and destroy our Judeo-Christian history and values.” — David Horowitz, head of the David Horowitz Freedom Center*, June 18 fundraising email.